The fabulous Vanessa Kimbell started a conversation on Twitter to organise a Christmas gift swap between food bloggers, with handmade edible. This eventually turned into an event held at Fortnums and Masons and a very competitive competition judged by Dan Lepard.
Let’s Make Christmas was born. 50 food bloggers, many, many amazing handmade foodie gifts from Christmas cookies, seasonal chutney, very professional chocolates and sweets and an impressive range of alcoholic infusions.
After Vanessa announced a list of prizes for each category of baked goods, drinks, sweets and preserves, the competitive gene kicked in. The star prize was a Kenwood K mix for the winner of the baked goods category, so of course I had to make one thing for that category. I chose to make some Malaysian Pineapple Tarts which is something that we make in Malaysia (or rather, buy in from some lovely lady who bakes millions for each festival) for Chinese New Year or for Hari Raya (Eid).
I have not done much baking or pastry for ages so this was a great opportunity to start again. I totally under estimated the time that this would take and it was a mad scramble to make short crust pastry at midnight, while stirring a pot of pineapple jam on the side.
I had to improvise with some star shaped cookie cutters to make it look more festive. We usually make these in a round shape with a specially designed cookie cutter that simultaneously cuts the pasty and creates the indent in the middle for the jam. There was much improvisation but it turned out quite well in the end.
I had originally planned to just make some Brazilian Chocolate Brigadeiros which are just simply sweets made with condensed milk.The making of these were quite easy but it took hours of shopping to find the colourful sprinkles, the little gold cups and a suitable sized box to put the sweets in. Here are the finished results. I fell in love with the colourful sprinkles in different shapes and colours and have discovered a whole work of cake and cookie decorating goodies at the local cake shop. Oh no, I feel a new addiction kicking in.
Here is an idea of the competition on the day.
These are some of the entries for the baked goods category. There was a lot of talent in the room.
Entries for the sweets category.
Much serious judging by Dan Lepard and the man from Fortnums.
There was much socialising, networking and meeting food bloggers that we only know by their Twitter handles. So many people had come down to London for this event, it was really an amazing gathering.
Helen (Fuss Free Flavours), don’t know, Vanessa, Sarah (Food For Think) and not sure and didn’t have a chance to meet.
Fiona (London Unattached), Jackie (I am a Feeder) and not sure.
The winners: Jay (Jaynerly) , ?, ?, Urvashi (Botanical Baker), Dan and Vanessa. Sorry, can’t remember the names or the blogs of everyone I met that day.
These are the gifts I got from my swap. Chocolate Peppermint Crunch from Heidi Roberts and glittery Honeycomb rom Gail Doggett (One Million Gold Stars).
That was a really fun afternoon, met some new food blogger friends, got some delicious brownies from Michelle (Utterly Scrummy) and left with a little goodie bag from Fortnums. Big thanks for Vanessa for organising a really fab bloggers event.